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REMARKS BY THE SPEAKER, HOUSE OF REPS AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON NUTRITION & FOOD SECURITY, AT THE NATIONAL

REMARKS BY THE SPEAKER, HOUSE OF REPS AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON NUTRITION & FOOD SECURITY, AT THE NATIONAL

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REMARKS BY THE SPEAKER, HOUSE
OF REPS AT
THE INAUGURATION OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE
ON NUTRITION & FOOD SECURITY, AT THE NATIONAL

REMARKS BY THE RT. HON. ABBAS TAJUDEEN, PHD,
SPEAKER, HOUSE
OF REPRESENTATIVES AT
THE INAUGURATION OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE
ON NUTRITION AND FOOD SECURITY, AT THE NATIONAL
ASSEMBLY COMPLEX, ON THURSDAY, 29TH FEBRUARY.
2024
Protocols:

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the inauguration of this very
important House Committee on Food Security and Nutrition.

This Committee is very crucial to the vision of the House to “be
responsive, results-oriented and effective in performing its
constitutional mandate towards the security and welfare of
Nigerians’. Nigeria, like the rest of the world, is experiencing a
food crisis, exacerbated by climate change, rising inflation and
pervasive insecurity. Hence, the decision of the House to set up
a Committee that would be dedicated to fashioning legislative
and measures, actions to tackle the menace of food insecurity and
malnutrition affecting our people.

2. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) about 26.5 million Nigerians
would be grappling with high levels of food insecurity in 2024
while the country is said to have the second highest burden ofmalnutrition in the world, with 32% of children under the age of
five stunted or chronically mainourished. Malnutrition currently impacts 35 million children under the age of five, among whom 12 million are stunted, 3 million are wasted, and 23.5 million suffer from anemia. An additional 17.7 million individuals are facing hunger, with 2.6 million children confronting severe acute
malnutrition in 2024. Among women of childbearing age, 7%
experience severe acute malnutrition. These figures may
exacerbate due to the current food inflation rate, which stands
at about 33.7% (according to the Central Bank of Nigeria).

3. Furthermore, the World Food Programme’s September
2023 publication of the ‘Nigeria Hunger Map’ estimates that
24.9 million Nigerians are in an acute or critical stage of hunger,
categorized as an emergency, while 85.8 million Nigerians have
insufficient food consumption. Among this population, 47.7
million Nigerians resort to crisis-level or above-crisis-level food-
based coping strategies

4. The above data paints a very gloomy picture requiring urgent
legislative action. This is particularly so given that some of the causative factors are issues within the legislative competence
of the House to deal with. The food and nutrition crisis affecting
us as a nation is partly caused by global warming and climate
change, pervasive insecurity across the country which prevents
tarmers and herders from engaging in their various agricultural activities, poor Irrigation, outdated land tenure system, crude and traditional farm practices on subsistence levels as well as a myriad of other challenges.

It is in the light of the foregoing that this Committee finds
relevance and becomes very signiticant. As a committee, you
are expected to provide a legislative response to the worsening food insecurity and malnutrition in the country through effective
oversight of policies and programmes towards addressing
these twin issues especially as the President had declared a
state of emergency on food insecurity, review existing legislation and suggest new legislative frameworks that affect agricultural production, the tood supply chain, etc.

Your task becomes more crucial and urgent in the face of rising food prices and high cost of living occasioned by the withdrawal of
government subsidy on petroleum products. I have no doubt in
the capacity of the Chairman and members of the committee to
deliver on this onerous task of providing immediate solution to
the growing food and nutrition crisis in the country.

6. I urge this committee to enlist the support and collaboration
or relevant stakeholders to achieve success in the overall interest of Nigeria. I have confidence in the competence of the chairman and members
of this committee to rise to the
occasion and be able to come up with effective legislative roadmap on how to deal with this ugly situation. I wish to urge every stakeholder and experts in this area to provide the needed support and partner with the Committee to meet the objective for which it was established.

7. Let me also re-emphasize the position of the House to
improved food and nutrition for our people In our resolve as a House to tame hunger in and malnutrition, pursue food security
and sustainable development, we prioritized agricultural
development as a key legislative agenda based on our strong
belief that agricultural sector is a critical factor in growing the
nation’s economy and scaling down poverty rate. Besides, We
are committed to enacting policies and legislative trameworks
towards supporting farmers with subsidies, access to credits
and modern agricultural equipment to stimulate enhanced agricultural productivity. This will also have a far-reaching Impact in addressing the multifaceted challenges of food insecurity and malnutrition.

I am honored therefore to formally inaugurate this Committee as part of our legislative response to food insecurity and malnutrition in Nigeria.

Thank you and may God bless the Federal Republic of
Nigeria.

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